Sep 05 2012

Q&A with Pinterest Expert Laura Gordon

Find out how one teacher is engaging students and faculty with social media.

Laura Gordon is a teacher at W.T. White High School in Dallas, TX, a drill-team coach and a self-admitted Pinterest addict. Gordon has turned her school’s Pinterest account into one of the most active high school pages in the country. She provides tips and resources for fellow teachers, as well as games and tools for students. Her “Crafty Classroom Ideas” board includes some great ideas, such as using car-wash mitts from the dollar store for cleaning white boards. And there are 80 more ideas that are just as good!

We caught up with Ms. Gordon for a quick interview about her Pinterest use and the benefits she is providing to her faculty and students. Don’t forget to check out other schools that are making the most of Pinterest.

EDTECH: When and why did you start a Pinterest account for W.T. White?

LG:I started the page last spring when I saw the vast amount of valuable information and resources available for teachers on it. There’s even a whole searchable category for “education.” Most educational materials are aimed at the elementary level, so I wanted to have a resource for secondary teachers as well. I am usually the person at my school that not only implements technology in my lessons but also likes to share my ideas with my fellow faculty members who are not as tech savvy.

EDTECH: Is the initiative related to the school social media planning, or is this an independent effort?

LG: This was an independent effort on my part. When I had it up and running, I shared it with the faculty and administration.

EDTECH: Who contributes to the page?

LG: Currently, I am the only admin on the page, but I do ask my colleagues for sites that others have found helpful so I can pin onto the page. I hope, as interest grows, I can share this responsibility with others who are interested.

EDTECH: What is the most popular topic among students? Faculty?

LG: The faculty members who have responded to my page seem to find the technical resources, such as using remind101 to text students, a great way to implement 21st-century ideas into their teaching. Many teachers struggle with organization, and the Crafty Classroom page is the most helpful.

I encourage my students in my social studies–geography course to use the archives and other sorts of sites to do research for their projects. There’s also a vast array of presentation styles using multimedia for them to use for projects as well.

EDTECH: Are there plans to invest time in other social networks?

LG: This would depend on district and school regulations, such as the use of Facebook. However, I have been utilizing YouTube to teach dance routines to the drill team over the summer break. Many teachers have YouTube channels to give access to students of their presentations or performances. I enjoy sharing project presentations with my students in Dallas from students all over the country and world doing the same things. It really brings the lesson to life.

EDTECH: What do you hope to teach students about social networking?

LG: My hope it to teach students and teachers that there are amazing ideas and resources available to us on social networks, such as Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Many teachers are excited to use these tools that their students have already been using at their leisure at home. Other teachers are apprehensive due to the stigma of the sites or feeling the learning curve is too great to implement it on their own.

I feel that if you show just how easy and useful the social networking sites can be for teachers and how excited the students are to learn from them, it makes for an overall effective and more enjoyable learning experience that can extend past the walls of the classroom.

Check out the W.T. White High School Pinterest page here.

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